By Federico Fuentes, Caracas
August 8, 2009 -- On August 1, United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) members across the country participated in 1556 local assemblies to discuss the reorganisation of the party’s base into local ``patrols''.
This push to strengthen revolutionary organising comes at a time when
attacks on Venezuela’s revolutionary process revolution “from outside
and within have intensified”, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, also
president of the PSUV, said on August 4.
“Each time that the revolution advances and accelerates its march, the attacks intensify. I will continue to put my foot down on the accelerator of the
Bolivarian revolution. That is my role, that is my task and there is no
time to lose. Today, in Venezuela, we are creating a true socialist democracy.”
After his re-election in the December 2006 presidential elections,
Chavez issued a call to build a “new party… from the base” and at the
service “of the people and the revolution, at the service of
As an expression of a deeply felt need for greater revolutionary
unity, almost 6 million people enrolled as aspiring PSUV members
between April and June, 2007. Organised into 300-strong local battalions, several hundred
thousand aspiring members embarked on the task of building the PSUV,
which held its founding congress in early 2008.
However, a national leadership handout distributed at the
assemblies said the process of forming battalions had generated “a
number of logistical difficulties [that meant] grassroots participation
in the battalion meetings profoundly diminished, and in doing so
debilitated [their] functioning and political performance”.
Drawing on the lessons of previously successful election campaign
structures, the leadership announced a re-organisation of the bases,
where activists who know each other and live in the same street, block or local community were to unite into patrols comprising 20 to 30
The smaller size and self-selecting nature of the process aims to facilitate greater organisational capacity and cohesion.
It is expected between 100,000 to 200,000 patrols will be formed in the
lead up to the PSUV’s second national congress, scheduled to begin on
Despite announcements by Jorge Rodriguez, head of the PSUV’s
national organisation commission, that patrols would only be organised
on a territorial basis, representatives of the PSUV’s Socialist Workers
Front told Green Left Weekly that Chavez proposed they move ahead with forming factory- and workplace-based patrols.
PSUV Youth members have also said they plan to form university and high
school patrols. Despite more than 60% of the 1.5 million new members
who signed up this year being below the age of 29, youth participation
in the assemblies was extremely low.
On the political front, activism in local communities and
ideological formation was emphasised. The PSUV leadership document (see below),
circulated for discussion at the assemblies, said this was crucial for
“accelerating the transition to socialism”.
The document said this transition involved “the transformation of
the bourgeois state into a revolutionary and democratic state ... the
creation of socialist property relations over the means of production
... [and] the creation of revolutionary consciousness in working people
[through] a profound ideological and cultural revolution”.
[This article first appeared in Green Left Weekly issue #806, August 9, 2009.]
Analysis of the political situation for discussion at
the assembly of future PSUV patrullas
- The most important international issue for our
country at this moment is the announcement made by President Hugo Chavez
to freeze relations with Colombia. This is due to a set of provocations
and acts of confrontation by the government of [Colombian President
Alvaro] Uribe in the last few days. Among those it is worth highlighting
the decision to establish five US military bases in Colombia and the
reiterated accusations, which are totally unfounded, that link the
Venezuelan government to the FARC [the left-wing Revolutionary Armed
Forces of Colombia].
- In regards to the military bases, we are dealing
with an open act of aggression, although the Colombian government wants to
try and cover it up with the euphemism that they are Colombian bases that
will count with the support of US military personnel. In reality, the US
policy of economic expansion and political confrontation in the hemisphere
seeks to establish a military foothold. In this sense, the hostility of
the US government in relation to our revolution has been more than
- The government of Uribe has transformed Colombia
into a military base and seeks to defeat the popular movement and
insurgent forces in Colombia. At the same time, these military bases aim
to contain the advance of the revolutionary forces in the continent.
- Colombia has opted for subordination to the US,
expressed in its insistence on signing a Free Trade Agreement with the US,
and now with the establishment of military bases, something that is
incompatible with maintaining stable and friendly relations with our
- The revision of economic relations on our side
signifies, among other things, a notable decrease in trade. Colombia will
lose its second-largest market, an important destination for exported
manufactured and agricultural goods. These can be imported to our country
from other countries or substituted by national production. It will be
much more difficult for Colombia to find alternative markets within the
framework of the world crisis. This will represent a drop in employment,
production and income in an economy like Colombia’s that has already been
seriously affected by the world crisis of capitalism.
- In general terms, we believe that this situation
will lead to an intensification of the Colombian economic crisis and the
strengthening of anti-imperialist positions in this country.
- Another important issue is the coup in Honduras.
As we have already said in other opportunities, we are dealing with a coup
against Honduran democracy, against the advance of the popular movement in
that country, but also against Latin American and Caribbean democracy, as
well as, and especially, ALBA. Having converted itself into a
counterweight to imperialist hegemony, it is being punished with this
blow. Despite the ambiguities of the US government, there is no doubt that
imperialism participated in the military coup.
- The lessons of the coup in Honduras have [proven]
to us, among other things, that imperialism is the principal enemy of the
revolutionary process; that every revolution or process of democratisation
has to be capable of defending itself, for which it must count on a united
revolutionary party with deep popular roots; and, lastly, that we have to
be prepared in the face of any escalation of aggressions against our
revolution, consolidating the continental and global unity of
anti-imperialist and progressive forces.
- Confronted with this international context, the
Venezuelan revolutionary project is unfolding in the midst of an important
set of contradictions, which tend to intensify as we advance.
- One of the greatest successes of our government’s
management has been to avoid the economic recession via its anti-crisis
policy. In light of the collapse of oil prices and the recession that is
hitting the world economy hard, this represents a notable success. The
anti-crisis policy, moreover, has allowed for the consolidation of
important social indicators regarding employment, poverty and misery. The popular
and revolutionary character of our government was made clear when measures
that defended the interests of the workers were applied, contrary to the
past, when the objectives of capital were prioritised.
- This situation has allowed for the strengthening
of the political positions of the revolution, but it is undeniable that we
have to make a greater effort in improving efficiency in public management
in the deepening of the revolution.
- In both scenarios, the PSUV plays a star role. In
its role of watchdog over public management, as well as political
leadership of the government, we have to establish the mechanisms that
allow us to impact with greater force over the exercise of government in
all instances. The same applies for the effects of the deepening of the
- If we had to synthesise in three grand lines of
action the strategy for accelerating the transition to socialism, we would
have to highlight: a) the transformation of the bourgeois state into a
revolutionary and democratic state, which finds in the communes one of its
principal expressions of popular power; b) economic development and
creation of socialist property relations over the means of production; and
c) the creation of revolutionary consciousness in the working people, as
the result of a profound ideological and cultural revolution.
- It is in this context that the National Assembly
(NA) has presented to society laws of extraordinary importance that create
the legal premises to undertake these changes. The most notable here are
the laws regarding social property, education, communal councils, labour,
workers’ councils, electoral participation and culture, etc. All these
laws have to be approved on the basis of popular legislative exercise and
revolutionary political hegemony. It is about giving a resounding popular
backing to these laws.
- Last, we have the decision to implement the laws
regarding the use of radio frequencies. Many TV channels and radio
stations broadcast illegally, other legal ones violate the law. This situation
cannot continue. We are not only dealing with an excess on the part of the
owners of the media, but a political attack, a destabilisation attempt by
the most active and powerful expressions of the Venezuelan opposition: the
- The attitude of the media is inscribed within the
strategy of conspiracy, which is making calculations in the lead up to the
parliamentary elections in 2010. This will not only be a measure of force,
but a desperate attempt by the opposition to hinder the possibility of
approving strategic laws in the NA and explore using the “Honduran road”
to get rid of President Chavez
- We have to be alert and demonstrate in our
actions that Venezuela is not Honduras and that this is a revolution
capable of defending itself as it advances towards socialism.
[Translated for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by Federico Fuentes.]